Dogs should be man’s best friend. However, when one attacks and injures you, an experienced personal injury lawyer could help with the legal fallout. A dog bite could lead to severe injuries, pain, and permanent disfigurement. The risks are more significant if the victim is a child or when the dog is larger.
Any dog has the potential to cause serious injuries. Indiana makes it easier to recover for dog bites than many other states, but the specific events surrounding the bite are critical. Speaking with a Beech Grove dog bite lawyer could be essential to understanding your rights.
In some states, owners are strictly liable when their dog bites. Even if a dog has not shown any previous signs of aggression, the owner is responsible for any injuries if the dog bites unprovoked. Generally, owners are only liable for damages if the dog is not acting to defend itself, its home, or its family.
Indiana Code § 15-29-1-3 provides that owners are responsible for any unprovoked dog bite, regardless of whether the animal has a history of aggression. However, a dog’s history could impact the owner’s criminal liability and whether a court will impose punitive damages. A Beech Grove attorney who handles dog bites could explain how the individual facts of the case may affect the outcome.
There are three primary defenses to dog bite claims: comparative negligence, trespassing, and statute of limitations. Dog owners could use these defenses to try to deny or limit their share of responsibility for the dog bite. A lawyer could anticipate these defenses and look to counter them.
Comparative negligence explicitly addresses unprovoked dog bites. If the injured party provokes the dog in any way, including trespassing, they may share responsibility for the dog bite. Generally, homeowners are also not liable for injuries to trespassers, including dog bites. However, there are exceptions to that rule. State and federal workers who come onto the property to perform their jobs could still recover financially for injuries. That includes people like police officers and mail carriers. Non-government employees, such as delivery drivers, who enter the property to perform their jobs may also be exempt.
In Indiana, the statute of limitations is two years, meaning people have two years to file claims for dog bites. Even if a person believes the dog owner may have a good defense, they should consult a lawyer in Beech Grove who understands the complexities of dog bite cases.
Some cities have breed-specific legislation, which either prohibits ownership of certain dog breeds or requires their owners to carry more liability insurance. Beech Grove does not have breed-specific legislation. However, Beech Grove Indiana Code of Ordinance § 90.06 prohibits residents from owning vicious animals. The individual dog’s history determines whether it is dangerous, not its breed. A Beech Grove dog bite attorney could explain why a law based on a dog’s history benefits injured people more than any breed-specific legislation.
Severe dog bites may lead to significant pain, medical expenses, lost wages, decreased quality of life, and lasting emotional trauma. Even minor dog bites may be surprisingly expensive to treat. Unless you provoked the dog or otherwise caused the bite, the dog’s owner should be the one to cover those expenses. Contact a Beech Grove dog bite attorney to learn more about how to proceed with a claim.